Chameleons come in a variety of different colors and sizes depending on species and locality. From Veiled Chameleons, to Panther Chameleons, Carpet Chameleons, and Parson Chameleons! There are many options to pick from. Pet keepers usually enjoy watching them feed on insects (crickets, mealworms, hornworms, roaches, etc.) Though they are very popular, they do not make the best "handle-able" pet. However, they make great display animal and can be very rewarding if kept properly.
Listed below are a few species of Chameleons
Veiled Chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus):
- 12-24" in length
- Lives 2-8 years
- Variations: Translucent (Pied)
Panther Chameleons (Furcifer pardalis):
- 9-21" in length
- Lives 2-7 years
- Variations: Ambanja, Ambilobe, Ankaramy, Nose Be, Nose Faly, Sambava, Tamatave
Jacksons Chameleons (Trioceros jacksonii):
- 7-10" in length
- Lives 8-10 years
- Best known for males having giant horns
Carpet Chameleons (Furcifer lateralis):
- 6-9" in length
- Lives. 2-3 years
- Sexually dimorphic. Males are usually very vibrant in coloration.
Parsons Chameleons (Calumma parsonii):
- ~24" in length
- Lives 10-15 years
- Famous for their large size
Senegal Chameleons (Chamaeleo senegalensis):
- 6-8" in length
- Lives 2-5 years
Screened enclosures are a staple for Chameleons as they allow the Chameleon to climb and give proper ventilation. Though these animals need to be misted routinely, over exposure to high humidity can cause a host of illnesses. Since they are usually perched on a branch or foliage, this allows you to have fun and heavily decorate their enclosure with fake or live plants like Pothos or thick branched plants. Your basking spot should be between 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit with an ambient temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. A tropical UVB is a critical component to Chameleon health. Partner that with a humidity level of ~60% and your Chameleon(s) can live a proper life.
The majority of Chameleons that you may find available are usually imports because they are not as readily bred in captivity to meet the demand of the pet industry. These imported animals are best for breeders so they can hopefully produce enough to reduce the need to bring in animals from the wild. This can be difficult since chameleons usually live 2-10 years in captivity depending on the species. On the other hand, an experienced keeper can easily care for imported chameleons. Captive bred Chams are just a bit easier for entry level chameleon keepers.